estate planning meeting

What an Estate Planning Meeting Looks Like

People often wonder what to expect when meeting with an attorney about estate planning (wills and trusts). Will it be like going to the dentist to get a tooth pulled or will it be like a walk in the park? At The TGQ Law Firm we certainly understand that the idea of meeting with an attorney, for any reason, can be scary, especially when you’re unsure about what to expect.

With that in mind, we wanted to give you some information that can help approach your meeting with confidence and excitement. Our core values are to: (a) treat people well, (b) provide sound counsel, and (c) make the process enjoyable! These are the values that guide us as we conduct all of our meetings with our clients.

With these values in mind, here are promises that we will keep. When you meet with us, you can expect the following:

  1. Our focus = YOU!

    We believe the client is the center of attention. You are the star of the show! We want to know what you care about, what burdens we can unload, what interests and goals we can help you meet, and what worries we can relieve. Consequently, we understand that our estate planning meetings are all about you. We listen a lot so that together we can build an estate plan that meets your specific needs.

     

  2. Your attorney = a specialist.

    In your estate planning meeting, you will meet with an attorney that specializes in estate planning (wills and trusts), elder law and /or probate law. This attorney is trained to advise you according to the law. As each of our attorneys are required to complete the State Bar of Michigan’s and Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s three year Probate and Estate Planning Certification program at a minimum, you are not meeting with a general practitioner. You are meeting with someone equipped and qualified to advise you in this area. We take our expertise seriously!

     

  3. Our lips are sealed!

    Everything you share with us is subject to attorney-client privilege, 100% of the time for 100% of the information. We not only refrain from sharing your information, but because we stand by confidentiality, we are reluctant to share that we are even meeting with you for this purpose. We know confidentiality is important to you, so we highly value confidentiality in our practice.

     

  4. No “legalese!”

    We work very hard to avoid using legal jargon and “law school” language. Our staff speaks plainly, using real-world examples and illustrations, while streamlining the process for efficiency. Our aim is for you to clearly understand every aspect so that the end-goal is exactly what you want. If you don’t understand we are patient enough to pause until everything is clear to you.

  5. Fair Price/ No Pressure.

    Simply put, we do not overcharge and we leave the choices to you. No one wants to pay too much. The saying goes that you “get what you pay for” and there is certainly a fee for our services, time, and expertise. We study the market rate for the services that we provide and make sure our costs are fair to all parties.  Providing a valuable service and only charging at its value is something we take pride in. In every meeting, however, we present you with options for “next steps,” make our recommendations, quote our fee and leave the decision to you. While much of the work deals with taking care of the business while you are able (alive and competent) we never pressure you into a final decision, but instead give you room to decide when to proceed. Planning for your death, health challenge, or for the protection of your assets may be daunting, but our goal is to make this planning simple and enjoyable.

In our estate planning meetings you are the star. You are the most important person in the room. Simply put, we are here to serve you!

need to know about estate planning

What You Need to Know About Estate Planning To Get Started

The term “estate planning” may sound like something just for millionaires but that’s furthest from the truth. Everyone, whether  young, old, a student, an athlete, single, married, or a CEO, needs a plan for the future and there are no pre-qualifiers. Simply put, if you are alive, you need an estate plan. Below we’ve outlined what you need to know about estate planning to get started.

Questions to Ponder

Consider this:  If I get sick, who will take care of me? If I die, who is going to take care of my stuff? Who is going to get my money?  How will my children be cared for? Who’s going to handle my email and online accounts?  These are some of the questions that you probably have thought about but haven’t been able to answer.  

If you do have answers to these questions, it’s important to make sure those answers are written in a legally sufficient manner, so that your interests are actually accomplished when the time comes.  Your estate planning attorney will help you make sure that these questions are answered, according to your wishes, and within the parameters of current estate planning laws.

One Size Does Not Fit All

One of the common things that you may find while searching for a will are “will kits” or other online “tools.” Such tools may seem convenient and quick, but the convenience is deceiving. Will kits are often “one size fits all” which means that if you need something specific in your will, you’re on your own. And even if you have your own will, it may not be enough to save your assets from probate.

A Customized Plan

There are plans for everyone and for every walk of life, whether you are single, divorced, married, etc. If you are single, you will want to make sure you know who is going to take care of you if you get sick or who is going to distribute your assets when you die. If you have children, creating a plan ensures that any minor children of yours are taken care of by people you trust. In addition, you want to ensure that your children are provided for when you are gone. If you are married, you may want to make sure that your spouse is designated as your personal representative, successor trustee, funeral representative, patient advocate, and power of attorney.  An attorney can help sort things out specifically for what you need to know about estate planning in your case.

Avoiding Probate

If you die without a trust or a will your entire estate goes public through a process called probate. When you die without a plan, your assets go through your state’s probate court. In probate court, what happens to your assets is determined by the court, not by you or your family. Probate is often difficult to navigate, as there are a lot of steps to complete the process, there are many deadlines, and there a lot of people involved in getting access to your assets.  As a result, probate can be a burdening process for your loved ones as it will cost them time, and in most cases a lot of money from inventory and attorney fees. With a plan, your assets will go to the people whom you have intended to receive your assets, without the stress.

Consult with a Qualified Attorney

With all of that said, a good, qualified attorney is necessary to complete your planning process. You want to find an attorney who is qualified specifically in estate planning, or in other words, an attorney who has taken the three year course that is necessary to be certified in estate planning.  Attorneys who are not certified with estate planning do not have the expertise to handle your estate planning needs and will cost you your money and your time. 

With attorneys at the TGQ Law Firm, you can feel confident you are receiving excellent service.

Call the TGQ Law Firm at 734 (707)-3232 or email at tgqlaw.com to schedule a fifteen minute consultation today. Take a step for your future, invest in an estate plan.

about estate planning

How to Have a Conversation with Your Parents About Estate Planning

How do you have a conversation with your parents about estate planning? My first impulse is to answer to this question with the statement, “Very carefully.” Your parents are your parents and you are their child no matter how old you are. A discussion about estate planning for tough situations such as death or incapacitation, or a discussion about what their wishes are, who gets what, and what happens if they get sick, is not one that many people like to have. So when I say that this conversation should be approached very carefully, I mean just that: approach this conversation full of care.

 

  1. Check your motive.

    Your motive for wanting to have this conversation will reveal itself. Whether the motive is to get your mom’s cookbooks or it is to lessen potential drama in the family when mom passes, the motive will show. Therefore, it is good to check your own motives. I find that the best conversations about estate planning with parents happen when the child or children are truly motivated by the goal to see their parents wishes accomplished. This means when they are gone and/or are no longer able to make decisions on their own. Sincerely caring about your parents and wanting to support them in making sure what they want to happen actually happens is a motive that most parents respect and can get behind. This motive opens up the door for them to hear what you have to say. Therefore, they are more open to consider what you have to share with them about estate planning.

  2. Know the basics.

    It’s important to be informed yourself. Your parents may have questions about what an estate plans, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc. You want to be able to answer your parents questions or know where to refer them. One of  great things about The TGQ Law Firm is we have articles that explain the basics. One of the best things about The TGQ Law Firm is that we offer a free 25 minute phone consultation with prospective clients. Consequently, your parents can talk to an attorney that is an expert in estate planning free of charge before committing to an attorney. This way, they can and find out what they need to know.

  3. Consider the setting.

    When talking to your parents, consider the setting. What place will they be comfortable talking? Will you need privacy? Probably. Who should be a part of this conversation? Should you talk to your parents alone first? All of these things should be considered. Above all, you want to have the most productive and supportive conversation with your parents.

  4. Have resources available.

    Share information about estate planning with your parents. Give them a brochure from The TGQ Law Firm, take them to a seminar that The TGQ Law Firm sponsors, and share article links listed above. Maybe you’ll want to print them out and give them the articles, or schedule a phone conference for them with one of our expert attorneys. Be sure to make the information they need available so they can make an informed decision about what they need.

  5. Be willing to revisit the conversation several times.

    It may take several conversations before any actual estate planning takes place. Therefore, it is important to be patient with the process. Your parents may need to think about this for a minute. However, it is equally important to try to help them get the ball rolling. It is better to plan ahead than to be scrambling to put things in place. You want to avoid facing the publicity or conflict of not having a plan.

 

At The TGQ Law Firm, we know that this conversation and process can be daunting to people. We know it is not easy to plan for these tough moments in life, but we also know how much more difficult these tough moments are when proper planning has not taken place.

Our core values at The TGQ Law Firm are to treat people well, provide sound counsel, and make the process enjoyable. We are confident that you and your parents will be well informed, have your needs met, and feel cared for as you work with our law firm. Feel free to contact by phone, email, or on our website to schedule your appointment or your free phone consultation today. We are here for you.